Nassau police investigate tweets about cop in fatal shooting
Nassau police are investigating inflammatory online posts about the officer who accidentally shot and killed a Hofstra student in May during an off-campus hostage standoff.
A Twitter user writing under the handle @JohnnySmith2 posted a series of tweets on Monday containing vitriolic language about Officer Nikolas Budimlic, including one that said he wished the officer was "dead from guilt."
In another tweet, the user wrote: "Hopefully #NikolasBudimlic gets taken hostage and one of his fellow officers charges in and fires 8 shots killing Budimlic."
READ: DA report on shooting | Interactive: Deadly force incidents
PHOTOS: Hofstra shooting | Rebello honored at graduation
VIDEO: Fatal shooting near Hofstra
MORE: Audio of scanner dispatches | Complete coverage
"We take potential threats against our police officers and citizens very seriously," said Insp. Kenneth Lack, a police spokesman. "This matter is being investigated."
Nassau Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said some of the tweets could be construed as making threats against an officer, which is a crime.
"My concern here is that what starts off as posts on Twitter could progress to violent behavior against this police officer or someone else," Carver said. "I think when someone talks about hoping people are killed, that crosses the line."
Attempts to reach @JohnnySmith2 were unsuccessful.
Budimlic shot and killed Hofstra University student Andrea Rebello, 21, and ex-convict Dalton Smith, 30, of Hempstead -- who had entered a house to rob Rebello and several other students -- after the parolee held Rebello as a human shield and pointed his gun at the officer, police have said.
The union's call for a probe comes amid separate, ongoing investigations into the May 17 shootings by both the police department and the Nassau County district attorney's office, which is reviewing whether Budimlic and other police personnel acted appropriately during the confrontation.
In August, lawyers for Rebello's family filed papers saying they intend to sue the county for wrongfully causing Rebello's death.
Budimlic, who took sick leave after the shootings, has since been transferred to a Department of Homeland Security task force, though he would like to return to street patrols, according to law enforcement sources.